A Japanese architect born in 1971 with an interest in structures and nature. Having spent his childhood in the lap of nature, he has developed a keen respectful approach to bringing nature close to humans. Having said that, one can point out that he has experimented with representing the aspects of a tree in architecture in various of his projects. His detailed attention to material uses and colour choice brings out the heart in a structure. His progress and journey throughout show the versatile nature of his thinking and the passionate efforts of his work. He is a young architect, who values the relationship between nature and structure , and so do his projects. 

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Sou fujimoto_©sou-fujimoto

1. T-house 

Location – Gunma, Japan
Year – 2005

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T house facade_©archdaily

The clean black slating façade with bending architecture is another structure by architect Sou Fujimoto. Using every corner and curve of the site with the potential to produce a room with purposeful activity can be seen in this project. The floor plan looks like a flower in full bloom petal stage where each bend or edge is coming to the centre. The shape and geometry of the project stand out from the rest of the neighbours, as well as the matte black exterior. Each bend is designed in such a way that it will engage the user in an indoor activity. Another exceptional project against the typical layouts , which checks out all the boxes yet stands unique in line.

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T house plan_©archdaily
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T house planning_©archdaily

2. Group home in Noboribetsu

Location – Hokkaido, Japan
Year – 2006

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group home facade_©archdaily

A group housing cum dorm residence project with an angular sloping roof. Ar. Sou Fujimoto has planned the structure in two parts, having nine compartments each. Central connecting passage linking the two cubes together. The grid pattern is used to smartly divide the space into equal parts for sharing and co-living . Angular sloping roof with sunroofs brings the natural light in with additional voids in the walls. Providing the interactive spaces in the middle and using the corners for private areas give the shape to the floor layout inside. 

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digonal walls_©archdaily
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section group home_©archdaily

3. Final wood house 

Location – Kumamoto, Japan
Year – 2006

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interior wooden house_©iwan baan

Interlocking and staking create an exceptional bond between the material, which is showcased in this project by Ar. Sou Fujimoto. Beyond the typical terms of a slab, column, lintel, ceiling, etc., he has developed an integral habitable space. Surrounded by the flora and with the material used, it can be an example of a modern-day tree house . A habitable space with all level usage and interactive platforms, which supports the structure as well as shapes up the interior. 

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wooden house in nature_©iwan baan
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wooden house levels_©iwan baan

4. Musashino art university museum and library 

Location – Tokyo, Japan
Year – 2010

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exterior library _©iwan baan

A majestic blend of art museums and libraries became the new bridge between books and built. The original structure was notable; designing with the perspective of additions with keeping the original was achieved by Ar. Sou Fujimoto. A book lover will always fantasize about living in a book world; capturing this essence and creating the structure in the form of bookshelves made a dream come true. The spiral envelope of the books will capture the user within the loop till it reaches the destination. Reading is an activity completely dependent upon the element of light in the process. Keeping this in mind, Ar. Sou Fujimoto has given the sill to slab windows for the play of light in the activity. This initiative also connects the user seating within the enclosed space with nature through the scope of vision. 

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interior library _©iwan baan
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light penetration_©iwan baan

5. Tokyo apartment 

Location – Tokyo, Japan
Year – 2010

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in locality_©diachi ano

Sou Fujimoto has shown the play of levels in this project, complimenting the views through openings. A house is a safe and happening place, as the user spends most of the time within. The structure must not feel like a containment but a covered space with a connection to the outside. The vibrant choice of colour and play of rotating degree provides each room with an exceptional view. Also, complementing the structural planning and designing, an architect has created a bond with nature and built through the tilting axis and openings.   

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Interior tokyo apatment_©iwan baan
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connectivity_©iwan baan

6. House Na 

Location – Tokyo, Japan
Year – 2011

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openess_©Iwan Baan

Architects’ noble initiative to bring architecture closer to nature through a variety of experiments can be observed here as well. A bungalow in a housing society with a transparent façade and play of levels is a brave and creative act performed by Ar. Sou Fujimoto. A strong forte of a bright white structural grid with multiple levels within opening out on the streets of Tokyo. The ideation of living in a tree, playing on different levels of branches, was turned into a habitable living space. 

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idea_©Iwan Baan
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facade_©Iwan Baan

7. Serpentine Pavilion 2013 

Location – London, United Kingdom
Year – 2013

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interaction_©DanielPortilla

It is an honour to design a structure for the Serpentine Gallery ; Serpentine’s annual Pavilion commission is itself an awarded accomplishment. While designing the pavilion, Ar. Sou Fujimoto has deeply considered the user group and their interaction with the space. Like merging the layers on canvas, he merged the landscape with the pavilion to reach out for the sky. A stepwise escalation of a user connects them with the sky and land at the same time while blending with the atmosphere. The strength and span of the material also play a vital role in erecting the structure with user safety. 

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canvas_©DanielPortilla
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light on material_©DanielPortilla

8. Bus stop Krumbach 

Location – krumbach, Austria
Year – 2014

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complimentingo_©yuri palwin

This initiative was taken in Austria to boost local tourism. Tourism majorly involves transport, for which good connectivity and availability are important. While Ar. Sou Fujimoto went beyond these conventional attributes and created a structure not just to catch attention but also to fulfil the purpose. Considering the safety and local limit, it might have stretched the band but turns out to be complimenting the immediate adjacent. A bus stop is an ultimate public use space with a standard form, but challenging the rudiments with creativity, Ar. Sou Fujimoto has set a busmark, sorry benchmark! 

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use_©divisare
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material and shadows_©divisare

9. Many small cubes 

Location – Paris, France
Year – 2014

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with surrounding_©MarkDomage

First ever project in Paris, yet the eye-catching one. Ar. Sou Fujimoto has always put extra effort into all the projects to establish the connection between built and nature. The project emphasizes that an installation in a public space that will interfere with people in daily life must have a connection with the surrounding. The structure blends with nature and creates a pavilion to pass through and experience the play of light and shadow. The choice of material and colour for the installation shows the sensitivity of Ar. Sou Fujimoto towards the absolute impact of a design.

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inside outside_©simon bossi
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season_©simon bossi

10. Naoshima Pavilion 

Location – Kagawa, Japan
Year – 2016

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hidden rock_©lorian ghinitouoiu

A contribution to The Setouchi International Art Triennale is a contemporary art festival 2016 by Ar. Sou Fujimoto. White rock metal mesh structure on the bank of a waterbody, with a dynamic form. An inviting public place for the locals as well as tourists passing by. Ar. Sou Fujimoto always inserts a nature-relevant feature in the project to create that balanced relationship. The sculpture was designed by Ar. Sou Fujimoto marks a public place with a play of interactions and a show of material range. 

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pavillion_©lorian ghinitouoiu
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rock mesh material_©lorian ghinitouoiu

11. Rental space tower – 

Location – Tokyo Japan
Year – 2016

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puzzle_©vincent hecht

An urban project must have elements are interaction and participation; keeping this in mind, Ar. Sou Fujimoto has designed rental spaces in Japan. The form shapes up like a fortress with a hierarchy, where it establishes a platform for the exchange of thoughts and emotions. Humans naturally evolved to live in a society, not in solitude. It is in our blood to share and care about our neighbours but with respectfully keeping the private areas secured. 

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intraction_©vincent hecht
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Forte of heirarchy_©vincent hecht

12. 12.  Potato head – 

Location – Hong Kong
Year – 2016

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sound of materials_©potato head_archdaily

Being the first project in the city by Ar. Sou Fujimoto did catch a fair share of attention in the area. The project entirely revolves around the materials used and space play. The secret lies within the detailed and thoughtful selection and placing of the materials which keep the user engaged and contained. The play of nature is a must to mention which puts the soul and breath into the project. 

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material play_©potato head_archdaily
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fine dinning_©potato head_archdaily

13. Milano Design Week – Forest of light –

Location – Milano, Italy
Year – 2016

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spot lights_©cos

In architecture, the light puts life into a structure. While exploring its boundaries in the fashion industry is a noteworthy experiment done by Ar. Sou Fujimoto. Light of forest, as a theme for stage installation with the use of mirrors to intensify the feel with replications. Audience must enjoy the journey of play of lights as well as complimenting the fashion event. Use of a mirror is a intentional choice done by Ar. Fujimoto, easily allows the audience to see different angles and views of the fashion model at a glance. This interdisciplinary event between two domains was a brilliant example of the interactive nature of architecture with spaces.  

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mirroring_©cos
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props with light_©cos

14. L’Arbre blanc – 

Location -Montpellier, France
Year – 2019

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blending_©sergio grazia

A super white branched-out structure in a middle of a city waiting to expand its foliage. The structure is inspired by a tree branching out. The structure blends with its neighbourhood as much as it stands out with its aura. Built forms represent the value of mixing with society to go forward together with having a unique style that defines only you. Projecting cantilevers are of various lengths and widths, showing the individuality of a branching tree. A home provides you with a roof over your head, and an open-to-sky projection gives you a connection with nature. 

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stars of night_©sergio grazia
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branching out_©sergio grazia

15. Shiroiya hotel – 

Location – Hangzhou, China
Year – 2020

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contours_©shinya kigure

Renovation of the hotel from the 70s and altering its look throughout with bold use of exposed concrete. The initiative by Ar. Sou Fujimoto to get the structure closer to nature with exposure to light, the addition of green, and play of natural levels can be seen in this project. Material choice for interiors gives a stand-out look and adds richness to the involvement of the structure. Additional tour of art and cuisine helps the guest arriving to enjoy and relax in the atmosphere. The structure façade just gives a written glimpse of what is inside, but the real journey begins with exploring the place from the inside.

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connectivity_©shinya kigure
inddor nature_©shinya kigure

References: 

  1. Dezeen interview of Sou Fujimoto, Available at https://www.dezeen.com/tag/sou-fujimoto/
  2. Rethinking the future, Sou Fujimoto – Idealogy and Philosophy, available at https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/know-your-architects/a5619-sou-fujimoto-ideology-and-philosophy/
  3. Arch Daily -Sou fujimoto, Available at https://www.archdaily.com/tag/sou-fujimoto
  4. Divisare – Sou FujimotoArchitects built Projects, Available at https://divisare.com/authors/59574-sou-fujimoto-architects/projects/built
Author

Bhakti is in her last year of B.Arch. Having a keen interest in scopes of print media; She is exploring the communicative branches of architecture through various mediums. She enjoys experimenting with intangible interpretations of the relationship between space and people, moving beyond the tangible features of Architecture.

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